A solution to the challenges of interdisciplinary aggregation and use of specimen-level trait data. Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding variation of traits within and among species through time and across space is central to many questions in biology. Many resources assemble species-level trait data, but the data and metadata underlying those trait measurements are often not reported. Here, we introduce FuTRES (Functional Trait Resource for Environmental Studies; pronounced few-tress), an online datastore and community resource for individual-level trait reporting that utilizes a semantic framework. FuTRES already stores millions of trait measurements for paleobiological, zooarchaeological, and modern specimens, with a current focus on mammals. We compare dynamically derived extant mammal species' body size measurements in FuTRES with summary values from other compilations, highlighting potential issues with simply reporting a single mean estimate. We then show that individual-level data improve estimates of body mass-including uncertainty-for zooarchaeological specimens. FuTRES facilitates trait data integration and discoverability, accelerating new research agendas, especially scaling from intra- to interspecific trait variability.

published proceedings

  • iScience

altmetric score

  • 27.15

author list (cited authors)

  • Balk, M. A., Deck, J., Emery, K. F., Walls, R. L., Reuter, D., LaFrance, R., ... Guralnick, R. P.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Balk, Meghan A||Deck, John||Emery, Kitty F||Walls, Ramona L||Reuter, Dana||LaFrance, Raphael||Arroyo-Cabrales, Joaquín||Barrett, Paul||Blois, Jessica||Boileau, Arianne||Brenskelle, Laura||Cannarozzi, Nicole R||Cruz, J Alberto||Dávalos, Liliana M||de la Sancha, Noé U||Gyawali, Prasiddhi||Hantak, Maggie M||Hopkins, Samantha||Kohli, Brooks||King, Jessica N||Koo, Michelle S||Lawing, A Michelle||Machado, Helena||McCrane, Samantha M||McLean, Bryan||Morgan, Michèle E||Pilaar Birch, Suzanne||Reed, Denne||Reitz, Elizabeth J||Sewnath, Neeka||Upham, Nathan S||Villaseñor, Amelia||Yohe, Laurel||Davis, Edward B||Guralnick, Robert P

publication date

  • January 2022